The value range, called Payless, spans all product categories. It comprises 200 SKUs, extending to 1,000 early next year – 8 per cent of the retailer’s total SKUs. Payless products include a ‘tidy a garden’ pack for£20, a 5l tin of matt emulsion paint for£4.99 or a hammer for£2.99.
“There is an immediate need to reinforce the affordability of DIY,” said Focus chief executive Bill Grimsey.
“Payless will underpin our value proposition and is going to gain traction. It says a lot about our intention to take on this war-like challenge with gusto.”
Grimsey added that the Payless products are “functional, essential and high volume” and the range, which sits among other brands, could eventually represent 20 per cent of all sales.
Payless will be promoted via black and white ads in national newspapers, including the tag lines Screw the recession and Keep the doom and gloom from the bathroom.
In the eight weeks to October 24, Focus said its like-for-like sales dropped 7.8 per cent, compared with an rise of 8.5 per cent in the five months to July 31.
“These are tough economic times and the housing slump calls for a change in our approach,” said Grimsey.
Focus is also pushing ahead with its store refit programme. Three stores – Wantage, Oxfordshire; Harrogate, Yorkshire and Pontadarwe, Neath Port Talbot – have already been revamped and another three – Wymondham, Norfolk; Caerphilly and Woking, Surrey – will be overhauled by the end of the year.
Focus said about half of its 181 stores could be refitted and the remainder partially refreshed.
By next January, Focus will have made cost savings of£8.2 million after the 750 redundancies announced earlier this month. Grimsey said there are no planned store closures or any further job cuts on the horizon.